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Execution date for Ga. murderer Keith Leroy Tharpe

September 6, 2017
ATLANTA, GA –Attorney General Chris Carr offers the following information in the case against Keith Leroy Tharpe, who is currently scheduled to be executed on September 26, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. for the 1990 murder of his sister-in-law Jaquelin Freeman.
Scheduled Execution
Tharpe has concluded his direct appeal proceedings and his state and federal habeas corpus proceedings. Accordingly, on September 6, 2017, the Superior Court of Jones County filed an order setting the seven-day window in which the execution of Keith Leroy Tharpe may occur to begin at noon, September 26, 2017 and ending seven days later at noon on October 3, 2017.
Tharpe’s Crime (September 25, 1990)
The Georgia Supreme Court summarized the facts of the case as follows:
Tharpe’s wife left him on August 28, 1990 and moved in with her mother. Following various threats of violence made by the defendant to and about his wife and her family, a peace warrant was taken out against him, and the defendant was ordered not to have any contact with his wife or her family. 
Notwithstanding this order, Tharpe called his wife on September 24, 1990 and argued with her, saying if she wanted to “play dirty,” he would show her “what dirty was.”
On the morning of the 25th, his wife and her sister-in-law met Tharpe as they drove to work. He used his vehicle to block theirs and force them to stop. He got out of his vehicle, armed with a shotgun and apparently under the influence of drugs, and ordered them out of their vehicle. He then took his sister-in-law to the rear of his vehicle, where he shot her. He rolled her into a ditch, reloaded, and shot her again, killing her.
Tharpe then drove away with his wife. After unsuccessfully trying to rent a motel room, Tharpe parked by the side of the road and raped his wife. Afterward, he drove to Macon, where his wife was to obtain money from her credit union. Instead she called the police.
Tharpe v. State, 262 Ga. 110-111 (1992)
The Trial (1991)
Tharpe was indicted in the Superior Court of Jones County, Georgia for malice murder, two counts of kidnapping with bodily injury and armed robbery. Tharpe was convicted of malice murder and two counts of kidnapping with bodily injury and sentenced to death on January 10, 1991. Thereafter, Tharpe filed a motion for new trial, which was denied on August 15, 1991.
The Direct Appeal (1992)
The Georgia Supreme Court affirmed Tharpe’s convictions and death sentence on March 17, 1992.
Tharpe v. State, 262 Ga. 110 (1992)
The United States Supreme Court denied Tharpe’s request to appeal on October 19, 1992.
Tharpe v. Georgia, 506 U.S. 942 (1992)
State Habeas Corpus Proceedings (1993-2010)
Tharpe filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the Superior Court of Butts County, Georgia on March 17, 1993. In his petition, Tharpe alleged, among many other things, that he was intellectually disabled. Evidentiary hearings were held on May 28, 1998, August 24, 1998, October 1-2, 1998, December 11, 1998, December 23, 1998 and July 30, 2007. On December 1, 2008, the state habeas corpus court entered an order denying Tharpe state habeas relief, which included his claim of intellectually disability. 
The Georgia Supreme Court denied Tharpe’s appeal on April 19, 2010.  The United States Supreme Court denied Tharpe’s request to appeal on November 29, 2010.
Tharpe v. Upton, 562 U.S. 1069 (2010)
Federal Habeas Corpus Proceedings (2010-2017)
Tharpe filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia on November 8, 2010. On March 6, 2014, the district court denied Tharpe federal habeas relief. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s denial of relief on August 25, 2016.
Tharpe v. Warden, Georgia Diagnostic & Classification Prison, 834 F.3d 1323 (11th Cir. 2016)
The United States Supreme Court denied Tharpe’s request to appeal on June 26, 2017.
Tharpe v. Sellers, 2017 U.S. LEXIS 4080 (2017)
In his federal habeas corpus appeal, Tharpe again raised a claim of intellectual disability. This claim was denied by the United States District Court, Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court.

Friends of the Library Book Sale this week


     The Friends of the Library Community Used Book Sale will be held September 7th, 8th and 9th at Chattahoochee Tech. 

The members preview sale will be Thursday, September 7th from 4-6 p.m. If you aren’t already a member of the Friends of the Pickens Library, don’t worry - join at the door and get first pick of thousands of books! Become a member for just $15.

Read more: Friends of the Library Book Sale this week

Staying safe while hunting deer from a tree stand


        Statistics each year reveal that almost half of all hunting incidents are due to falls or other safety issues with tree stands, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division.    

Following are recommended tips for keeping you safe while utilizing tree stands for hunting:

•When using a non-climbing portable or ladder stand, hunters should securely fasten the stand to the tree and install ladders or steps according to the manufacturer’s directions.

•Hunters should ALWAYS wear a Fall-Arrest System (FAS)/Full Body Harness during ascent and descent.  Be aware that single strap belts and chest harnesses are no longer recommended and should not be used.  Failure to use a FAS could result in serious injury or death. 

Read more: Staying safe while hunting deer from a tree stand

Jasper Merchants gear up for fall, winter events


Submitted by Paul Poore of JMA


As the end of 2017 approaches, the Jasper Merchants Association begins to shift into high gear to bring to Pickens County some of the biggest events on their calendar. Starting in September with the Community Open Market and going all the way into December to end with the 11th annual Night of Lights - Parade of Lights Christmas event.

The JMA begins their run of events on Saturday, September 16 with the rebranded Community Open Market that will start at 8 a.m. and run until 2 p.m.  With over 40 vendors of all types already confirmed to participate in this event, it will be one of the largest we have had. In the event of rain, the event will be rescheduled for the following Saturday. This event will take place with the help of local business owner Kathe Hall of Green Acres 515. The Community Open Market will take place at 35 Hidden Creek Road in the vacant

Read more: Jasper Merchants gear up for fall, winter events

Milestones scores a mixed bag


         Georgia Milestones scores from the 2016-2017 school year have been released by the Georgia Department of Education. While there are many areas where Pickens County students improved over last year, scores were a hit and miss when it came to beating the state average.

The scores are from 2017 spring End of Grade tests. 

Last school year was the third time students took the Georgia Milestones test, which replaced the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT). Georgia Milestones scores are used to assess the mastery of Georgia Performance Standards.

     See full story including comments from the Pickens County School admnistratiors in this week's print or online editions.